Monday, January 11, 2010

Spider-Man franchise dead, will be rebooted. Others just as cursed?

In a shocking display of incompetent decisions, the powers that be have decided that if they can't get Sam Raimi to direct the 4th installment, that they'll just reboot the franchise and start all over again.

What? Peter back in high school? Another origin story?

I don't need to see a 3rd origin story of Spider-Man. Yep, I said third. I contend that Spider-Man 2 is basically a remake of the first film, rehashing the same themes and villainous behavior as the first film, and actually serves as a fine introduction to the franchise as it turns out the first film *is* unnecessary to watch because the second film does such a good job covering all the plot points that we *don't* see on screen during that film.

Spare us, please. Find a new director. Re-cast the principles if they refuse to work on a 4th film without Raimi. Keep any of the actors who chose to remain in the series. If worse comes to worse, make Spider-Man 4 like a vague sequel/reboot in the vein of Superman Returns. Say what you want about how boring the film was, but it was clever enough to serve as an unconventional reboot since Superman is already Superman. We didn't need to see him launched from Krypton again, or growing up for 50 minutes in Smallville again, or get a job at the Daily Planet again, or meet Lois Lane for the first time, again. It was already done and the film implied that.

I can only imagine that the tedium of seeing Peter Parker go through the motions of high school life, get bit by a radioactive/genetically altered spider, and then grow into his powers will seem, well, sort of unnecessary. Should they begin the film with Parker already Spider-Man, along the lines of Batman (1989); The Incredible Hulk (2008); or even Hellboy, where we're not forced to sit through the tedium of seeing the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense created and Hellboy "fit right in"; I may be less perturbed.

Though this does not bode well for any franchise.

In my occasional lambasting of the Star Trek franchise, I like to point out that I can't imagine that this young cast will stick around for more than 2 or 3 films before at least one of the main cast wants out, or asks for too much money and is written out (either in a quick cameo death scene or has been "transferred" and never seen again). Especially if follow up films take so long to get even pre-production started. I fully expect that within the decade they'll "reboot" Star Trek again.

The Hobbit was a sure fire green-lit project, and what even with the legal issues a few years back, it may not even be released in 2011? What a joke. The first drafts should have been completed 8 years ago, and the moment any legal issues were finally resolved (it was always a matter of *when,* not *if*) the film should have gone into real pre-production. The film(s) should have already been released.

I suspect that with the financial problems that are plaguing MGM, that Daniel Craig may only get one more James Bond film in under his belt before hanging up his Walther PPK. Franchises like James Bond, which will almost always be guaranteed an additional film, should already begin lining up their script for the subsequent film before the previous film has even been released. Script revisions can (and should) be done if any carried over elements from the prior film into the current script needed tweaking. The film should lock down the roles of Bond, M, and Leiter far in advance and production should begin within a year for the next film to be released two calendar years later.

Do I blame Spider-Man's reboot woes entirely on long gaps between production of sequels? Not entirely. I do see it as an industry wide problem with studios unable to keep their shit together, especially when it comes to handling franchises. It really should not be that hard. They used to be able to do this with a lot more ease in the past. What is happening?

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